Pumpkin has long been an important local vegetable and several varieties are grown on the island. In the summer, almost every garden is fringed with pumpkin plants, their long ribbed stems crawling chaotically in and out of other plants, and their big floppy leaves monopolizing ground space.
- Yield: 6 Servings
- 8 dried red or green bell peppers or dried ancho chile peppers, seeded
- 3 pounds fresh pumpkin, peeled and seeded
- ½ cup Greek extra virgin olive oil
- 3 red onions, coarsely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon dried mint
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- ½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 to 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (to taste)
- Place the dried peppers or chiles in a medium bowl and cover with warm water to rehydrate.
- Let them sit for 30 minutes, or until soft. Reserving the soaking water, drain the peppers. Cut the rehydrated chile peppers into thirds across the width.
- Cut the pumpkin into 1½-inch (4 cm) chunks.
- In a wide pot, Dutch oven, or deep skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, reduce the heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and slightly caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the garlic.
- Add the pumpkin to the pot and stir to coat in the oil. Add the peppers, mint, paprika, cayenne, and salt and black pepper to taste. Cook, covered, over low heat, until the pumpkin is tender but not mushy, about 25 to 30 minutes. Gently stir in the vinegar, adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper and serve, drizzled with the remaining 5 tablespoons olive oil.